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bridgingMZAMBA – The Movie

A documentary by Kay Gertler, 32min, 2016

The film is dedicated to the mastered challenges of the multi-award winning self-construction project in South Africa.
Footage of filmmaker Kay Gertler and Hadrien Clair as well as image material of various project participants cover the process from negotiations with community representatives and the first infrastructural measures on site up to the joyous opening and hand-over ceremony of the pedestrian bridge.

buildCollective architects and founding members Elias Rubin and Marlene Wagner share their perspective on the project bridgingMZAMBA, collaboration with partners
(Community Steering Committee, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Dr. Lüchinger+Meyer, students, volunteers, consultants and supporters) and general approach to work.

Find out more about the work of Kay Gertler and KY – image films for humans on:

supported by:
Birgit Werner, Sigve Holmen and betterplace-crowdfunders.

for more information on project, partners and set up please visit:


bridgingMzamba – screening and talk

After more than three years of implementation of the pedestrian bridge over the Mzamba River in Eastern Cape, South Africa, we celebrated the completion of the award-winning self-construction project bridgingMzamba together with partners, supporters and friends in Vienna.

After the screening of the documentary bridgingMZAMBA by Kay Gertler we invited members of the bridgingMzamba project team and guests for a reflective talk.

Walter Sauer,, Universität Wien
Peter Fattinger,, TU Wien
Florian Anzenberger, bridgingMZAMBA Diplomand
Birgit Werner, bridgingMZAMBA Sponsorin
Jesko von Jeney, bridgingMZAMBA Volontär
Elias Rubin, buildCollective NPO
Kay Gertler, bridgingMZAMBA Filmemacher

Marlene Wagner,
supported by Schikaneder Kino


bridgingMZAMBA – The Book

bridgingMzamba – eine Brücke an der Wild Coast
Fachhochschule Kärnten Studiengang Architektur,
achimappublishers, 72 S., 2016, ISBN 9783940874979

bridgingMZAMBA, volume 6 of the architecture series by CUAS, traces the fundamental ideas behind the development and realisation of a self-build suspension bridge over the Mzamba River. The bridge was built between 2014 and 2016 through the cooperation of local, dedicated people and NPO buildCollective, the architecture faculty at CUAS in Spittal and two of its thesis students, as well as structural engineers and many other contributing individuals. It is an example of a meaningful collective effort resulting from a north-south dialogue, in several phases and culminating in practical realisation through great dedication.
– Peter Nigst, Arch. DI Dr., Carinthia University of Applied Sciences

In our area we are used to not getting anything from government, but in contrast to other places we are not burning cars or riot. We rather reach out and try to find new ways, because we know government is not able to provide service for all. We can meet them half way with new partnerships.
– Nonhle Mbuthuma , Chairperson Community Steering Committee

editorial work: Florian Anzenberger, Thomas Harlander, Peter Nigst, Marlene Wagner
graphic design: Daniela Fößleitner

Bridging Mzamba


open discussion on self-building

An open discussion with architects, researchers, artist, builders, students, former homeless and new residents aimed on the creation of a network on potentials, challenges and needs concerning implementation of self-building projects.


All participants exchanging experience and knowledge on designing temporary/permanent strategies and formal/non-formal practice of living spaces.

Located in the student built installation and museum pavilion of 21erHaus and TU Wien the group talked about historical background, role of the city of Vienna, case-studies from abroad, working with refugees and NGO, social legacy, ecological building materials, role of the University and participation of diverse user groups like students, the resource of skilled refugees and experiences of living in self-built structures.


By relating actors, activities and themes in phases of pre-construction, construction and post-construction a first step of balancing different point of views, language and positions could be achieved.

Ulrike Schartner (gaupenraub, Vinzi-Dorf),
Lotte Kristoferitsch (Eoos, Places for People),
Daniel Glaser (IBA_Wien, Wohnbauforschung Stadt Wien),
Christine Hohenbüchler (TU Wien, Institut Kunst und Gestaltung),
Ernst Gruber (Initiative Gemeinsam-Bauen-Wohnen),
Herbert Gruber (ASBN – Austrian Strawbale Network),
Michael Fürst (ICP, Make your City! smart)
Aaron Merdinger (Leben in der Wand),
Susi Gollner (Augustin Boulevardzeitung),
Ghifar Aldarkazanly (Handwerker, Künstler)
Marlene Wagner (buildCollective NPO),

18:00 Get-together / collection of ideas and questions
18:30 public discussion, followed by informal exchange


fb event:



photos: Ritchy Pobaschnig



infrastructure and workshops

With members of Bank of Austria (Sponsor of the Ithuba Mzamba School), local management, construction team, teachers and staff we have been digging and pouring concrete for toilet foundations, brick laying, painted classrooms, made benches, shelves, a school-braai (bbq), origami frogs….and much more.






photos: Christian Reidlinger



With a clean-up action in the community and the set-up of a screen in partnership with Ithuba School Mzamba and the local Tavern, Shop and meeting place we created a public viewing space with neighbours.

Young, Old, South, North, Men and Women came together to enjoy amazing nights with South African movies and reflect on diverse project documentations from the past years.


photos: Hadrien Clair, Marlene Wagner